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Underwater Puerto Vallarta


A look at what you'll find beneath Puerto Vallarta's bay's surface

While some of the local fauna can usually only be seen with full scuba gear, MOST of it can be witnessed with just goggles and a snorkel (fins optional). Near the rockier shores of the bay, around the Marietta Islands, and at Los Arcos you'll find hundreds of fascinating and beautiful creatures that these photos simply don't do justice to. The pool at your hotel may host some 'heavenly bodies', but take a snorkel excursion into Banderas Bay for a real treat for the eyes.

Puerto Vallarta PufferfishPufferfish can grow up to 12 inches long here. Be carefull of the sharp spines when it inflates. Although the spines are not poisonous, the fish itself is highly toxic, which is why you'll see local fishermen turning them back to the water when caught on their hooks.



Puerto Vallarta ScubaBanded Butterfly Fish grow up to 6 inches long, and you'll often see them in pairs searching the coral and rocks for tiny organisms.




Puerto Vallarta tropical fishThe "Sgt. Major" (named for the stripes) range in size from an inch to 9 or 10 inches long. You'll often see these in schools of hundreds close to the surface.




snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta MexicoThe Wrasse will swim in large groups near the rocks. Of note: This type of fish is born as a female, but can change to a male as the population requires! Best of both worlds?



scuba trips Puerto Vallarta MexicoSpotted Boxfish are up to 10 inches long, and the males are generally a bit larger and more colorfull than the females. Commonly seen hovering over coral reefs waiting for prey.



Puerto Vallarta Mexico underwater faunaThe Sharpnose Spotted Puffer is another toxic fish, but very small (only about 3 inches long) and very teritorial. If you've found one, stay and watch for a bit as it repeatedly chases other passing fish away.



Puerto Vallarta sea lifeScrawled Filefish are rare but not totally unseen in the waters of Puerto Vallarta. It floats slowly and calmly over the reef in search of food.





Puerto Vallarta AnglefishAngelfish
are almost as common here as at your aquarium store back home. In the wild they will grow to nearly 12 inches long. The younger Angelfish have distinctively different markings than their mature counterparts.



Puerto Vallarta SeahorseSeahorses are more and more rare here, due to harvesting for their mythical properties (some cultures grind dried seahorses as an aphrodesiac...while others deem them have strong curative properties for many different ailments...though no scientific connection has ever been proven). Consider yourself lucky if you encounter one, and let it be with the hope that they'll reproduce!


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